The Road Adventure Continues: Early days…
Back from two weeks off- incredibly lovely vacation; we had such fun!
Raring to get out on the Wine Road again today- false start with a member with a lost calendar- part of the angst of being on the road- oh well- lovely drive back over to Sebastopol via the Wine Road offices to say “hey” to Beth and Lynn and pick up maps- off to West County!
FAIRFIELD INN & SUITES Sebastopol
Cynthia, Shiva and Richard
Day is heating up as I arrive at the-bustling-with-guests-heading-out-for-the-day-lobby; Cynthia and Shiva great me and I meet Richard too. Hotel is very conveniently and well-situated in the lovely town of Sebastopol, which charmingly reminds me on the drive in that Sebastopol is a Nuclear Free Zone.
The full-breakfast in the great breakfast room is just finishing up-delicious aromas of coffee and waffles still linger in the comfy setting- hotel also offers a small meeting room and lending library, not to mention a lovely and sunny pool and spa- wish I could linger, but the road beckons!
Ashok and staff
Very much reminiscent of an apple drying building with cool, corrugated metal roofing pieces, The Sebastopol Inn is tucked away at the Gravenstein Station. Comfortable, walking distance to lots of fun stuff! Ashok welcomed me!
Barbara (and Sue & Bell)
Wending my way north along the Gravenstein Highway, aka 116, I arrived quickly at Graton Ridge Cellars where Barbara greeted me with 8 month old amazing puppy, Bell. Daughter Sue, usually on site, was away for a bit today. I learned from Barbara that each and every day of the year, Graton Ridge donates a portion of all their proceeds to the Sutter Breast Clinic in Santa Rosa. We chatted about their lovely success with this year’s SF Chronicle Wine Competition where they won the Sweepstakes Award for their 2007 Estate Pinot Noir. I spend some incredible puppy petting time before heading out to see the brand-new, shady and very comfy picnic area– I am a sucker indeed for Adirondack chairs you may already have noted!
Time to head out, and now I am on the Road back towards the north and then east- find myself on Guerneville Road and turn left on Olivet- I suddenly remember that today is the day that Kathleen Inman at Inman Family Winery will be in her new digs, the completely brand-new GREEN winery on the corner of Olivet and Piner Roads- cannot resist- I am there!
Kathleen is ever-gracious. Sporting a sun-hat she looks the part of an English heroine, and she is filled with knowledge about all aspects of the production of wine and is pouring to a group from Las Vegas, here in the area for a wedding. There is great, comfy furniture along the side of the winery almost in the vineyard with a view of the Inman Family Winery Farmhouse that is for let for guests. We sit and relax while Kathleen pours to us and talks about the grapes and her philosophy on wine. It is so perfectly warm and still- one of those moments that makes me amazed that I live here and that I get to travel the Wine Road and work with our fantastic members- truly a day in wine paradise. I leave with a bottle of Inman Rose of Pinot- a perfect remembrance which lasts only until I later arrive home.
Back on the road, I take Olivet to River Road and head east to my next House Call:
I always so enjoy visiting Vintners Inn! We held our Wine Road retreat here this year and had dinner at their John Ash & Co. restaurant- in 2009, their Executive Chef Tom Schmidt wrote the foreword for our TASTING ALONG THE WINE ROAD volume 11 for our A Wine & Food Affair that year. I applied here for an innkeeping position in 1983 so have a soft spot for this lovely, European flavored property.
I meet with Sue who works extensively with guests and weddings (Vintners Inn is famous as a wedding site) and all sorts of similar…she is very knowledgeable and gracious! Vintners Inn starts the guests’ day with a great breakfast in a great setting and often ends it with a complimentary pouring of Wine Road wines from a specific winery, often with the winemaker and staff there to schmooze and pour- tonight it is Bob Mueller from Mueller Winery with Maureen Flaherty from Hospitality. What a great set up! Lovely room, incredible wines, hors d’oeuvres and the winemaker and staff right there! (On vacation in the Sierras, specifically Graeagle and Blairsden, saw lots of Mueller wines on restaurant lists.)
The sun is setting as I head back to the ‘burg- more later with my Wine Road Concierge House Calls!